Correspondences

Looking at the photo Butterfly on Asters by Lisa Smith Nelson, I’m immediately reminded of a story in Robin Wall Kimmerer’s “Braiding Sweetgrass”.  Kimmerer is asked by her college advisor why she wants to study botany.  She tells him she is hoping to learn “about why asters and goldenrod looked so beautiful together”.  Her advisor is appalled.  To him, the beauty of a field of flowers has no place in science.

I could have told her, as her artist friends later did, about complementary colors.  But I did not know, as she learned in her further studies, that the eyes of bees, like those of humans, are naturally attracted to complementary colors.  I looked up butterflies and their vision, too, is similarly color sensitive.  When asters and goldenrod grow together, they complement each other in more than color—they attract more pollinators.  Plants need pollinators to reproduce. 

The combination of purple and yellow is part of the ecosystem.

It seems that beauty is indeed a necessity for life.

which came first–
the delicate wings
or the seed?

Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday prompt this week was a photo chosen and taken by Lisa Smith Nelson, above.

Poetry Postcard Fest 2021: Pantoum and Moon

I want to spiral with stars,
I want to breathe deeply
of the galaxies–
fly into vast silences

thrown towards the essence
of the galaxies,
the echo of silence–
I want to spiral with stars

For the Poetry Postcard Fest this year, I decided to do all moon postcards from my own photos as I had already done a series of them for one of the Kick-About prompts so I had the beginnings started. Last year I did shadormas for the poems using part of the last line of the previous poem as the first line for the next one.

But this year I decided to do a pantoum, giving me two lines for my next poem. These are the first and the last cards, the beginning and the end of the poem. I enjoyed it, but I don’t think it was as successful poetically, as I kind of got bogged down in the middle by the repetition. Too much of a good thing–41 stanzas is a lot.

Since I made 41 postcards I sent them all–to the 32 people on my list, and the rest I sent to friends. In return I got 25 from people in my Fest group, plus 2 from friends. You can see the ones I received at the top. Last year one postcard arrived in December, so more may show up. Once again I enjoyed the variety in both the postcards and the poems I received. Not to mention finding real mail in the mailbox–that’s always a treat.

I intended to post all the postcards and poems I sent last year for PoPo 2020, but I didn’t get very far. I did do 3 posts with the first 6 cards–you can see them here:
https://kblog.blog/2020/10/02/popo-2020/
https://kblog.blog/2020/10/18/popo-2020-part-2/
https://kblog.blog/2021/06/14/popo-2020-part-3/

They may still get posted at some point…and also more of this year’s moon cards. You can never have too much of either the moon or pantoums.

You can read about the Poetry Postcard Fest, and register for 2022, here.

Also linking to dVerse Open Link Night, where Lisa (who also participated in the Postcard Fest and made and sent me one of her beautiful postcards) is hosting.

anomalies

phantasma
goria exposed
by shadows
dissolving
into borrowed wings eclipsed
by casting out light

11 surrealist women artists take centre stage for the ...

I’m behind a few weeks on posting my contributions to the Kick-About, but this is the most recent, a collage inspired by Sheila Legge’s Phantom of Surrealism, above. Masked in roses, she was photographed in a white dress and gloves, surrounded by pigeons in Trafalgar Square, a performance inspired by a painting by Dali.

Woman with a Head of Roses, 1935. By Salvador Dalí ...

I was drawn to the statuesque quality of the photo, particularly given the location, and I can never resist using birds in a collage.

And of course we all don our own masks–some are just more obvious than others.

unrest

Another mostly sleepless night. But the Oracle sees beauty in those hours too. And how else would I have seen the sliver of the moon?

And look closely on the right–there’s Saturn too.

who is this self
sailing slowly through the dark

always away

blue with haunted oceans
flying from the ghosts of time

breathless as the dance
of skyholes
lingering in starfire
awakening the open eyes
of this goodnight

fullness

Full was the first word that jumped out at me from the Oracle, but in the end it didn’t fit into what she wanted me to say. But it works as a title I think.

When I’m looking for images to illustrate a poem I search through old posts. I found some of these photos when I searched for trees in memadtwo, from a trip I made to visit my brother and his wife when they were living in Asheville, NC. Like me, he’s moved a lot–after 15 years and 3 cities in North Carolina, they are on their way back to Ohio again. So I probably won’t get back to Asheville.

But the photos and my memories of the landscape fit with the mood of the Oracle.s words today.

when moonspirit walks between
nightshading

listen like stones in the riverpath

follow deep rootblankets
through dark earth

resting at dawn
quiet beneath birdtendriled
ancient trees

shadowsong

that song that your words called
into my mind, that song is like
a lost world, just images
in fragments, suspended like
a raincloud without rain,
a weight that refuses
 to dissipate–I can almost
feel the memory but it won’t
land, it keeps circling
through the things that aren’t
quite there–like a bird
call I can’t locate, disembodied
wings hovering invisible
inside my head

I realized immediately that I had seen Lotte Reiniger’s work before when I clicked on the link from the Kick-About prompt. It did not surprise me to hear her say, “I could cut out silhouettes almost as soon as I could manage to hold a pair of scissors.” Her work is, yes, “astonishing”.

Fairytale silhouettes by Lotte Reiniger - Beauty will save ...

Me? I never had that dexterity, not even when young. I also don’t work in film, which was Reiniger’s medium. So how to respond to this prompt?

I was going to work with simple bird silhouettes, but was unhappy with the ones I made myself. Once again, I had constructed a 3-D collage environment with cardboard pieces inside a paper bag. I decided to use photos of bird silhouettes, and hang them from strings at the top so they would move.

I used circles to enclose the bird forms so I could put different photos on each side–the images would change when the dangling circles turned.

Using the ceiling fan to create more movement, I began to take photos.

You can read more about Lotte Reiniger here, and see her extensive filmography here,

shadorma/liala

the landscape
pauses, quiescent–
waiting on
the edge of
movement—no time passes here–
framed in memories

Colleen’s #TankaTuesday prompt this week was an interesting one–

  • First, choose your favorite syllabic poetry form. Write your poem.
  • Next, give your poem some different characteristics to make it something different. You can change the syllable count, rhyme scheme (add or get rid of it), anything you want to create a new form. Write this poem.
  • Give your new syllabic poetry form a name.

I chose shadorma. How to change it? I had noticed before that all the lines had odd numbers of syllables, so I added one syllable to each line, to make them all even.

landscape pauses,
quiescent, waiting on
movement’s edge—no
time passes here–
a stilled photograph of silence–
time framed in memories

Thinking of a name was difficult. Shadorma seems to be totally made up, although several people noted the similarity to the word shadow. So I decided to pick a name with a beginning from light. I ended up with Liala, because I like the sound of it and the repetition of the a ending. It’s evidently a girls’ name but I could find no meaning for it.

There is a subtle difference between the odd and even syllabled poems, but I’m not sure which one I like best.

The photos are cropped versions of panoramas composed by my older daughter from photos she took in the mountains of Arizona where my father requested that we spread his ashes. My mother did not make any request except to be cremated, but we managed to find the very same place to spread her ashes years later after her death.